Prevention is key for seedstock breeder

With 70 years of experience, the Anderson family knows that fall calving and a sound vaccination program can help conquer the rough geography and climate of Eastern Oregon. And after some trial and error, they also discovered a niche in the seedstock business.

"We realized that if we could develop bulls that were raised in the same environment they were asked to perform in, they also would work for other ranchers who have the same trouble," Terry Anderson says. "We developed an Angus/Simmental composite breeding program that utilizes the most superior and proven sires from both breeds."

Along with their breeding program on their ranch in Pilot Rock, Ore., Terry and Debby Anderson, stick to a strict preventive health program. In January at branding, they administer a three-way vaccine to protect against bovine respiratory syncytial virus (BRSV), infectious bovine rhinotracheitis (IBR) and parainfluenza 3 (PI3), and a bacterin to prevent clostridial diseases. Then in April, they treat calves for parasites with using a broad-spectrum pour-on and vaccinate using a five-way vaccine to protect against IBR, bovine viral diarrhea (BVD) types 1 and 2, PI3 and BRSV, and again administer the clostridial bacterin.

"It's important that we set up the calves" immune systems and make sure they are clean of parasites when they go out to pasture," Anderson says. Based on recommendations and research results, the Anderson's chose Pfizer's INFORCE 3 for the initial respiratory vaccination.

Richard Linhart, DVM, veterinarian, Pfizer Animal Health Cattle Technical Services, says INFORCE 3 is a good addition to Anderson's respiratory vaccination program because it's demonstrated to prevent respiratory disease caused by BRSV, and aid in the prevention of respiratory disease caused by IBR and PI3 viruses.  

"INFORCE 3 helps provide a quick immune response and has the highest labeled protection currently available against respiratory disease caused by BRSV helping provide both a quick and effective immune response," Dr. Linhart says. "It also has been shown to be effective in very young calves with maternal antibodies, which is why it is a great choice for the Andersons as part of their branding vaccination program."

Prior to April turnout, the Andersons choose to vaccinate with Pfizer's Bovi-Shield GOLD 5 to help protect their calves through the summer grazing season.

"Vaccine efficacy is measured in two ways: the duration and level of protection expected," Linhart says. "This information is provided in the form of duration of immunity and label claims related to the levels of expected protection." Linhart says the Bovi-Shield GOLD 5 product currently has the longest demonstrated duration of immunity available and the highest level of label claims for IBR and BVD Types 1 and 2 respiratory disease.*

To wrap up their respiratory vaccination program, the Andersons give calves another round of vaccinations 14 to 21 days prior to weaning. Anderson says they want to give the vaccines a chance to work so the calves will have the highest level of immunity possible when they are stressed.


"When we wean the calves, we bring them down from the mountains where is it about 70 degrees to the feedlot where it is about 100 degrees," Terry says. "We haven't doctored one calf for pneumonia, which helps justify our extensive health program."

The Andersons don't skimp on their cow-health program either, and treat all cows for parasites both in April and late October. They vaccinate replacement heifers with a five-way respiratory product labeled for fetal protection at weaning, then put the heifers into a pre-breeding and pre-calving vaccination cycle with the rest of the cow herd.

"We take our breeding program very seriously and the health of the cows is an important part of that," Anderson says. "In 2009, we bred 461 females. When we finished ultrasound and preg-checking, we had one open heifer."

Dr. Linhart says the foundation to a healthy calf begins with the cow, which starts with a sound reproductive vaccination program. He adds that Bovi-Shield GOLD Fetal Protection (FP) vaccines, which the Andersons use, offer producers the flexibility to choose a reproductive vaccination program that best fits their operations and help reduce the risk of encountering reproductive problems. According to Pfizer, Bovi-Shield GOLD FP® 5 L5 HB is the only viral combination vaccine to prevent Lepto hardjo-bovis for a full 365 days, and is fully supported by a fetal-protection guarantee for BVD PI-free calves and IBR abortion.**

"Our reproductive vaccination program, and the backing from Pfizer Animal Health, saves us a lot of worry," Anderson says. "We have a lot of money tied up in an AI pregnancy, not to mention the value of the calves, so the last thing we want to have is a lost pregnancy."

Dr. Linhart commends the Andersons for their comprehensive health program and encourages other producers to work with their veterinarians to follow their lead. "Veterinarians are the best resource for animal health information because they know the individual ranches, management systems and diseases in the area," Dr. Linhart says. "They can help make recommendations when it comes to a health program that can help improve an operation and its bottom line."

Anderson says even though they run a closed herd, it is important that they have a complete vaccination program because it helps set their calves up for success. "We are selling bulls into herds all over the country. They are subjected to anything that might be in those herds so we want to make sure they are protected," he says. "We've seen enough wrecks through the years that we know the vaccination program is no place to cut back on expenses."


*Prevents IBR respiratory disease and IBR and BVD Types 1 and 2 respiratory DOI claims apply only to SC route of administration. Intramuscular respiratory IBR claim is "aids in prevention."

**Do not use in pregnant cattle (abortions can result) unless they were vaccinated, according to label directions, with any Bovi-Shield GOLD FP or PregGuard GOLD FP vaccine prebreeding initially and within 12 months thereafter. Do not use in calves nursing pregnant cows unless their dams were vaccinated within the past 12 months as described above. To help ensure safety in pregnant cattle, heifers must receive at least 2 doses of any Bovi-Shield GOLD FP or PregGuard GOLD FP vaccine with the second dose administered approximately 30 days prebreeding.